Closing time comes early in Columbia because of COVID-19.
Health Director Stephanie Browning said Friday bars and restaurants now have to stop serving alcohol by 9 p.m., and close by 10 p.m., effective immediately.
Coronavirus cases have spiked lately in Boone County, especially among college-age people. The positive test rate for the week ending Aug. 27 was up to nearly 45%. It was about 11% the previous week.
“What we’re seeing in our violations is they’re coming late at night,” Browning says. “Big groups gathering, they’re not wearing their masks, they’re not social distancing. And so we’re trying to keep things open and trying to keep it at a manageable level.
Here are the changes in the latest health order in Columbia and Boone County:
- Restaurants and bars serving alcohol are required to stop serving alcohol at 9 p.m. and shall close no later than 10 p.m. Restaurants that do not serve alcohol are not required to close at 10 p.m.
- Restaurants and bars serving alcohol may conduct curbside pickup and delivery of food items only after 10 p.m.
- Entertainment venues are required to close at 10 p.m. Any entertainment venue that serves alcohol must stop serving alcohol at 9 p.m. Entertainment venues can continue to operate with 100 people or less, provided an operational plan has been submitted to PHHS. In addition, they must meet the following requirements:
- Dance floors at entertainment venues shall be closed for dancing. Owners may repurpose the dance floor for table seating or other authorized uses if approved by PHHS in an Operational Plan.
- All food and beverage at an entertainment venue must be consumed while seated.
- Table seating shall be limited to a maximum of ten (10) people per table. Tables must be socially distanced.
- Any person at an entertainment venue who is not seated must comply with Face Mask Requirements*.
- All public and private gatherings not described within these orders are limited to 20 people or less. Social distancing and face mask requirements* must be observed at all gatherings.
- Any large group gathering or event held at a business or institution open to the public is limited to 50% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is less. This includes events in hotels, conference/event centers, places of worship, etc.
- All business establishments are strongly encouraged to operate at a capacity less than otherwise permitted to allow for more distancing within the establishment. Businesses are also encouraged to provide services remotely or in a manner maximizing social distancing such as curbside, pickup, delivery, etc.
*Masks required within Columbia city limits. Masks are strongly encouraged within Boone County.
(This story was last updated at 11:47 a.m. Friday.)